Chapter 1: Understanding and Managing Church Trauma—Finding Help and Healing for Mormons

Following is my master’s thesis on church trauma. I will post it in sections. This article will include all of my thesis’s chapter one but because chapter two is so long and comprehensive, it will be published in smaller parts (the whole thesis is 112 pages). For easier reading and clarity, I will label each section a new chapter. Because it is a thesis, it is quite formal in nature, which I hope will be appreciated. I will plan on posting a new section weekly. May you enjoy and find value in this series. Chapter One Introduction Church trauma is Read More

My 2020 Birthday Mantra

For my birthday, it’s become a tradition to write three statements of “I am…” as a way of noting growth and progress over the year.  I’ve been doing this instead of New Year’s resolutions.  The first year I did this (two years ago), my mantra was “I am worthy; I am good enough; I am unshamed” and by so doing, I noted more growth within a year’s time than ever before in my life.  I was able to step out of a harmful environment which challenged me to seriously look at myself and by so doing, I really started to Read More

Mormonism Is Good; Mormonism Is Bad

I was talking to a friend from South Sudan a few days ago about the Church. She was baptized in 2014 but stopped attending in 2017. She said something interesting to me: “I see why you left the Church and I see the problems you present. They are real and valid. You have outgrown it and you are wise to have moved on. You have healed since you’ve left. But Danna, the Church is also good. It helps people like me in a way most religions don’t. If I need help, they come; they want to come. They want to Read More

The Pendulum Swing of Trauma–And How It Pertains to Religion

I have a very dear friend that I’ve known since college who is in an extremely hard situation. After being married to her husband for over two decades, she finally gained the courage to leave him. Over the course of many years, he locked her in closets, drugged her, convinced her she was masturbating in her sleep and tied her wrists to the bed, beat her, choked her until she passed out, dragged her by the hair out of the shower and across rooms, manipulated all of the people around him—including their children—to believe his every word, etc. He even had his church leaders Read More

My 2019 Mantra

Last year instead of writing New Year resolutions (which I have never been a fan of), I made three statements of “I am” on my birthday: I am worthy; I am enough; I am unashamed. They became my mantra for the year.  I didn’t fully comprehend what I was doing last year by identifying these three truths. Yet consequently, as I internalized them, I experienced more growth and change within a year’s time than I have probably ever had.  The impact they have had on me has been overwhelmingly powerful.  Imagine my surpirse when I came across the words above by Joel Read More

Are you REALLY happy?

There was a speaker at the last general conference, that told a story about a girl’s boyfriend that recently left the church and he said to her that “he has never been happier”. She asked how could that be possible? The speaker went on to quote scripture and stated, “there is simply no enduring joy outside of the gospel of Jesus Christ”. I actually agree with that statement but not in the way you think. Here is an epiphany that I had recently, “whatever you believe is what binds or frees you”. If you believe in the Gospel of Jesus Read More

Stuck in Trauma?

Once upon a time there was a five-year-old girl named Stephanie.  One day her mom took her to her Kindergarten registration. Stephanie’s new teacher was sitting just outside a room with a box of crayons and several sheets of blank paper. Stephanie’s mother smiled confidently when Stephanie was asked to choose her favorite color and write her name. The mother, who was sitting across the hall, thought proudly, “She can write all the names in our family!” But to her mother’s surprise, Stephanie just stood there. The teacher repeated the instructions, and again the child stood still, staring blankly at Read More

It’s All About the Roots

In the spring, my kids call me the tree lady.  This is probably because every spring, I am outside planting trees!  I have joyfully planted over 100 saplings in the last several years. I have a friend who digs them out of her yard and brings them to me.  I get so excited when I begin planting, in hopes of new growth and long life.  But I have learned a few things over the years so I am a bit picky in my placement of them—the healthier the roots, the better the spot they land on my property.  So to try Read More

Mormons (and Post-Mormons) Have a Bullying Problem

Hold tight.  This is raw and this is real. I am going to call it like I see it: Mormons have a bullying problem.  Maybe it is just a war among us and not outside of us but having been on both sides of Mormonism, I am appalled and deeply saddened by what I see. Here’s how it goes: If you are a member, you are bullied by other members if you don’t fit the mold. If you don’t act right, dress right, believe right, look right, think right, worship right, talk right, parent right, gender right, associate right, say Read More

WHY AM I SO TRIGGERED LATELY?

For the past few weeks, I have been reflecting on the importance of recognizing triggers within ourselves and others. As many have been following the ProtectLDSChildren.org movement, there have been many productive, eye-opening discussions as well as many destructive, angry triggering discussions. As a spiritual life coach-guide and healer, I am always trying to leave an open heart space as well as responding diplomatically to people (including self love, with my own journey).  I admit, I have been emotionally triggered with some of the comments and discussions lately. On a couple occasions, I would openly discuss my frustrations with my Read More